In April, Microsoft announced preview support for Arm on Azure Virtual Machines. And now Microsoft is assuring that these Arm-based virtual machines in Azure will be available tomorrow, September 1st.
Microsoft pushed Arm to its Azure Virtual Machines by working with Ampere Computing, a startup that makes chips for servers. In 2021, Ampere announced that Microsoft and Tencent Holdings are clients. Amazon Web Services has been offering Arm-based virtual machines for several years now. In July, Google announced that it plans to do the same, including with Ampere.
Azure VMs powered by Ampere Altra Arm processors are available in 10 Azure regions and multiple Availability Zones around the world. They are available in the United States (West US2, Central West US, Central US, East US, East US 2), Europe (West Europe, North Europe), Asia (East Asia, Southeast Asia) and Australia (Eastern Australia). with other regions scheduled for availability after September 1st. Arm-based VMs can be included in managed Kubernetes clusters using Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).
New families in Azure VMs
Microsoft said “hundreds” of customers have tested Azure VMs built on Altra since April. They have used them for web and application servers, open source databases, microservices, Java and .NET applications, games, media servers, and more.
New Arm-based Azure VM families include:
- Dpsv5 series with up to 64 vCPUs and 4 GB of memory per vCPU up to 208 GB,
- Dplsv5 series with up to 64 vCPUs and 2 GB of memory per vCPU up to 128 GB, and
Epsv5 series with up to 32 vCPUs and 8 GB of memory per vCPU up to 208 GB.
Azure VMs on Arm are designed to run Windows 11 Professional and Enterprise on Arm. They also support various distributions of Linux operating systems, including Canonical Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and Debian. Microsoft plans to add support for Alma Linux and Rocky Linux in the future.
Microsoft has yet to say if it plans to support Windows Server on Arm other than for its own internal use. In 2020, Microsoft officially announced that it is working with Intel, AMD, and two ARM vendors (Qualcomm and Cavium) to support Project Olympus, a new generation of Microsoft cloud computing hardware made available through the Open.Compute Project. Microsoft also announced that it is working with several ARM vendors, including Qualcomm and Cavium, to run Windows Server on ARM for its own internal data center use only.